Power Players


Three American originals. Unique machines: suborbital spacecraft,fighter jets and racing yachts.

From This Issue

FrontRunners: Bugatti Safe, Billiard Table, Stainless Steel Cuff

PROVING THEIR METAL First we had the Bugatti Veyron watch from Parmigiani—coinciding with the introduction of the $1.2 million Bugatti 16.4 Veyron supercar—and now comes the Safe Bugatti. Manufactured by Stockinger (stockinger.com), it features a brushed aluminum interior with LED lighting, drawers lined with the same type of leather found in the Veyron’s cockpit, and […]

Antiques: Booming Boxes

When Tony Stone encounters a tea caddy—a decorative container that can fit in both hands and was designed to keep tea leaves fresh—he sees much more than a pretty little box. For Stone, a London antiques dealer, tea caddies represent the impact the beverage has had on his country. “The history of tea and tea […]

Home: Weaving Their Way

Before saying yes to Suzanne Lovell last fall, Sam Kasten had turned down many offers from other designers seeking to create home goods collections from his hand-loomed textiles. Kasten, founder of the Sam Kasten Handweaver company in Massachusetts, appreciated that Lovell, principal of her eponymous Chicago architectural interior design firm, recognized the aesthetic difference between […]

FrontRunner: Elephant polo and wine tours

GROUNDBREAKING EVENT When the British aristocracy invented elephant polo at the turn of the 20th century, the players swatted soccer balls. Unfortunately, the elephants squashed these flimsy projectiles, prompting a switch to standard polo balls. With this annoyance overcome, the sport gradually gained ground, attracting both corporate sponsors and a worldwide fan base. This year, […]

Travel: Rolling Stone

Some passengers on the 20-seat planes that service St. Barts may be too concerned about a splash landing to notice their bird’s-eye view of the Eden Rock Hotel. As the pilot cuts the throttle to approach a runway that is shorter than many California driveways, the plane swoops past a jumble of roofs covering a […]

Dining: Rich Dishes

When cleopatra drank a pearl dissolved in vinegar, she did so, wrote Pliny, to impress Marc Antony. Some of the extravagant restaurant dishes that have emerged recently seem to appeal to that same impulse. Consider, for example, the $1,000 frittata served by Norma’s, a breakfast eatery at Le Parker Meridien in New York, or the […]

FrontRunners: Canadian opera and American painters

TOUR DE FRANCE Drawn by breakthroughs in French painting technique, American artists visited Paris in droves during the last half of the 19th century. More than 100 of their finest pieces appear in the exhibition Americans in Paris, 1860–1900, on display at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (mfa.org) through September 24 and at New York’s […]

FrontRunners: From The Robb Cellar

Despite an equally long history fermenting the fruits of the vine, Spain’s wine-producing regions have only just begun to attain the kind of prestige that neighboring France’s appellations have enjoyed for generations. In fact, until recent decades, Rioja was the only region in the country to attract much attention from connoisseurs, many of whom appreciate […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

The Turrent family, which established its business in 1880, grows more tobacco and produces more cigars than any other Mexican cigar maker, yet its name remains largely unknown to American smokers. This situation surely will change as word of the new A. Turrent brand spreads. This rustic yet refined cigar—available in five shapes, including the […]

Smoke: Bank Rolled

Standing before us, behind locked acrylic doors, is perhaps the most impressive collection of cigars ever assembled. Hundreds of climate-controlled bins, each bearing numerous boxes of the tobacco industry’s most storied brands, line the walls from floor to ceiling. Yet I cannot sample even a single stick. Neither can my host, Vahé Gérard, proprietor of […]

Spirits: Distilling History

Ggiuseppe Ruo, manager of the Library Bar at London’s Lanesborough hotel, anticipates the question before it is posed. It is as if this native of Apulia, Italy, has detected the Montant aroma of a familiar spirit, one that still promises a measure of amusement yet no longer enthralls the senses. “No, I have not tasted […]

Golf: Doonbeg to Differ

In his inaugural round at Doonbeg Golf Club four years ago, Buddy Darby recalls, Greg Norman lost seven balls in the 2-foot-high marram grass covering nearly every inch of the course that is not a green or fairway. Doonbeg is a links layout that plays over, around, and through a series of seaside dunes (some […]

From the Editors: Links to More Productive Times

Claude Jeanloz would like to display his vintage cuff link collection, but to show the entire assemblage in an appropriate fashion, he figures he would need about 30,000 or 40,000 square feet. You see, his collection, likely the world’s largest, numbers some 100,000 pieces. “I have maybe 25 pairs that I wear on a day-to-day […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Screen Writer

Renaissance artists made frequent use of the Divine Proportion, a ratio of measurements that equals the infinite number Phi (approximately 1.618). The ratio appears often in nature—in the geometry of seashell spirals and the arrangements of plants’ seed heads, for example. During the Renaissance, its artistic applications ranged from the shape of canvases to the […]

Watches: Lone Wolf

A genial, soft-spoken Frenchman, Bernard Richards may not strike you as a rebel, but his maverick nature is clearly evident in the watches he designs—and in his enthusiasm for motorcycles (he owns 12), which has influenced those designs. Richard’s fastidious side is perhaps less obvious. It would be more economical for his company, BRM (Bernard Richards […]

Wardrobe: Suit Smarts

Tailors Adriano Roberti and Juiliano Volontare established their Adrian Jules suit label in 1964 in a small workshop near Rochester, N.Y., at a time when eight other suitmakers—the country’s largest concentration outside of New York City—were operating within the city limits. The two Italians had met a decade earlier while working together at the most […]

Off the Cuff

In a covert gesture of affection in 1935, Wallis Simpson gave platinum cuff links bearing the initials W and E rendered in diamond baguettes to her paramour, Edward, the Prince of Wales, who was poised to assume the throne of England. Decades later, Camilla Parker Bowles similarly bestowed Prince Charles with gold cuff links engraved […]

FrontRunners: 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

In the 1930s, France’s Voisin and Delahaye carmakers produced some of the most stunning vehicles ever built. Gabriel Voisin, who built World War I bombers, brought his understanding of fighter-plane technology to the designs of his cars, including the C-27, an extraordinary open-roof coupe. Delahayes drew international acclaim for their exemplary coachwork; the company’s Type […]

Autos: Change of Pace

The stretched ladybug shape of the Porsche 911, drawn so perfectly by Butzi Porsche, has been with us for 43 years. Four dozen versions of the car have evolved as coupes and cabriolets, targas and speedsters, slant-nosed and whale-tailed. They have won Le Mans, the Monte Carlo Rally, Daytona, the Targa Florio, Spa, several world […]

Power Players

Three-quarters of a century after Ford installed a V-8 engine in its 1932 Roadster, a car that the So-Cal Speed Shop has re-created, the quest to coax higher performance out of mass-produced vehicles continues. However, instead of allowing tuner shops to do all of the tinkering, carmakers now woo enthusiasts with special-edition, high-horsepower upgrades of […]

Wheels: To Air Is Divine

Bentley’s Continental GT Convertible is much more than the third of the company’s triplets. The car represents the third ace in a full house, the third member of a trifecta, the completion of a hat trick, the final member of a blessed trinity.   The 2003 Continental GT coupe was first from the assembly line […]

Contributors: Speed as a Demon and a Desire

While flying in the rear cockpit of the Collings Foundation’s F-4 Phantom fighter jet this spring, Patrick Smith was as anxious as he was exhilarated. He felt the sensation of the extreme g-forces and could not forget about the extreme antiquity of the aircraft. “I was thinking, ‘You’re sending me up in this 40-year-old fighter […]

Spin Control

“Out of control at or below 10,000 feet: Eject.” Of all the warnings and cautions contained in the fighter jet training packet, this was the one that alarmed me most; my civilian pilot training did not include any such scenarios. Out of control? What exactly was I in for during my 30 minutes in the […]

Spin Control: Chasing a Phantom

In 1995, Collings Foundation cofounder Bob Collings decided it was time to add an F-4 Phantom to the nonprofit’s collection of vintage planes. “Our mission is living history,” he says, explaining that the foundation, which has a stable of World War II–era machines that includes a B-17, a B-25, and the world’s only airworthy B-24, […]

The New Space Race

Near the end of a day full of speeches by scientists, entrepreneurs, and government officials during the 14th annual Space Access Society (SAS) conference in Phoenix, Reda Anderson approached the podium to deliver a brief address titled “A Customer’s Perspective.” The retired real estate investor and grandmother of two from Beverly Hills, Calif., was invited […]

The New Space Race: While You Wait

  Zero GravityTrainee astronauts become acquainted with weightlessness during parabolic flights, in which a jet with a padded interior flies a series of parabolas, or arcs, that allow as much as 30 seconds of free floating at the peak of each. The experience is similar to riding a roller coaster and can include the unpleasant […]

The New Space Race: Readying for Takeoff

Armadillo Aerospace, Mesquite, Texas The company is the brainchild of John Carmack, creator of the video games Doom and Quake. Carmack envisions a vertically launched one-passenger craft that might not rely on a human pilot. armadilloaerospace.com   Blue Origin, Seattle The secretive company founded by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos is working on a vertically launched vessel […]

Fast Track to the Cup

Chris Dickson, helmsman of the BMW Oracle America’s Cup team, keeps his hands steady on the carbon-fiber wheel of the just-launched USA 87, careful not to push the 79-foot yacht beyond its limits in the 21 mph gusts off the coast of Valencia, Spain. Despite Dickson’s caution, the yacht is in no real danger: It […]

Back Page: Competition on the Cutting Edge

When australia II beat Liberty in 1983 and wrested the America’s Cup from the trophy’s homeland for the first time in the yacht race’s then-132-year history, Tom Whidden was more upset than most Americans. The now-58-year-old veteran sailor, who has three America’s Cup victories to his credit, crewed on Liberty during the race that ended […]

Time: Out of the Closet

Robert Goldstein, president of the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, lives for his watches. More precisely, Goldstein lives with his watches. Rather than store his collection of more than 50 timepieces furtively in a vault, he displays them in his living area, all spinning in an Orbita Bergamo, one of the new, massive winder cabinets […]